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27 January 2012

Reject vote bank politics, Vote for empowering: Popular Front asks Muslims

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By Pervez Bari


Bhopal: Popular Front of India (PFI) discussed the prevailing socio-political scenario at the national level and in different states and chalked out plans to empower Muslims and other marginalised communities across the country.


A press release issued by the Public Relations Officer said the National General Assembly (NGA) of PFI was organized at Malabar House in Malappuram District of Kerala on January 21, 22 last wherein the discussion was held.


The release stated that the NGA expressed its anguish and concern at the failure of the Dalit and Backward Caste political parties to address the real issues that vex the Muslim minorities in the states they are either ruling or have ruled in the past. These parties have come into prominence or power using caste-based identity politics and pursuing Muslims. But unfortunately they have failed to reform the system. They have followed the same path of traditional political parties and tried to keep the Muslims disunited and neglected. They also did not tolerate the emergence of real political power from within the Muslim community.


The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh was no different in using the police or intelligence agencies to create fear and insecurity in the Muslim community by continuing police measures against Muslim activists and organizations. The NGA feels that only the newly emerged SDPI and like-minded parties can articulate the problems like poverty, illiteracy and unemployment among the Muslims and provide them freedom from hunger and fear. Hence, the meeting called upon the voters of UP and other states, not to act as mere vote banks of different parties, but to vote SDPI where the party has fielded candidates and support the candidate of the party which seems comparatively more favourable to Muslim issues in remaining constituencies, the release said.


In another resolution, the NGA demands the UPA Government to scrap all ties with Israel and avoid all sorts of internal and international coordination with Israel. The NGA observed that the growing friendship between India and Israel is a very alarming sign for the future of the country. Israel, the number one terrorist state in the world, which openly exhibits and justifies violence against Palestinians for the past six decades, is receiving red-carpet welcome in each front by the UPA Government. India has become the biggest customer of Israeli products whether it is defence, intelligence or agriculture. It is also a tragedy that the UPA government is continuously seeking Israel’s help for internal security in the name of war on terror. It is after establishing diplomatic ties with Israel that our country has witnessed a series of mysterious terror attacks. The recent decision to open Israel Consulate in Bangalore is another sign of growing impact of the Zionist state in our policy making, the release added.


The NGA demanded the UPA government to convert the words into action and to grant reservation to Muslims as recommended by Justice Ranganath Misra Commission. The recent Central Government decision to provide 4.5 per cent reservation to religious minorities is a positive step, but it has many discrepancies and lapses that need immediate corrections. This decision which did not cover all Muslims in the community and even ignores the minimum sub-quota of 6 per cent for OBC Muslims as recommended by the Mishra Commission is a mere political gimmick. The motive behind the series of statements issued by few ministers and leaders of different parties for granting reservation for Muslims seems to be just to attract Muslim votes in UP and other states. The government as well as different political parties should understand that mere sweet promises won’t be enough to lure the Muslims as they are becoming politically more aware, the release pointed out.


The NGA also demanded the Central Government to take immediate steps for handing over the Batla House encounter case to CBI and punish the culprits involved in this inhuman act. The Congress party itself seems to be divided on the issue of handing over the case to the CBI. The Batla house fake encounter case was a horrible instance where innocent Muslim youths were killed in cold blood by the Delhi Police. It was not just an encounter but also a serious attempt of stereotyping Muslims especially the students. None of the political parties seem to be serious in providing justice to the victims and are only competing with each other in lip service.


The NGA called upon the authorities to prosecute people who launched the vicious smear campaign against the Muslims alleging that there was a project called “Love Jihad” in Kerala and Karnataka to lure girls of Christian and Hindu communities for converting them to Islam. It is now proved that the “Love Jihad” itself was the brain child of Hindutva groups to create suspicion and hatred among the communities and to drive away Muslim youths from campuses. The meeting deplored the wide publicity given by certain newspapers and TV channels about the “Love Jihad” and called upon it to withdraw the fake stories and apologize to their readers.
It is heartening to note that the police have been able to arrest RSS elements in Bijapur, Karnataka who raised Pakistani flag to start communal riots in the city. Popular Front has repeatedly pointed out in the past that such incidents are the handiwork of RSS elements, the release emphasized.


The NGA also condemned the efforts of Kerala Police to hack into the e-mail communications of Muslim activists, political leaders and religious scholars. “We think that it is a part of racial profiling originally launched by the imperial powers to create enmity among different communities and to buttress racial and religious stereotypes. It is quite deplorable that this kind of illegal police intervention is taking place in a state which claims to have secular and pro-minority government”, the release noted.


In yet another resolution the NGA urged the Central Government to make appropriate amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure providing adequate and sufficient compensations to the individuals who were incarcerated for a long period without bail as remand prisoners and finally acquitted in frivolous cases.


Meanwhile, the NGA started with the introductory speech by the PFI chairman E. M. Abdul Rahiman. He pointed out that the recently held Social Justice Conference which witnessed a very large flow of masses from northern states in the Ramlila Maidan of New Delhi convinced us that the neglected lots of people are in search of a new movement honestly responding to their burning issues. He exhorted the delegates to take this opening as a challenge to reach out to the new lands and communities in our country. He also reminded them that mass mobilization is possible only through timely and effective intervention in national and local issues and by always remaining in the forefront of agitation for their rights and justice.


The PFI General Secretary K. M. Shareef presented the annual report of the organisation. The report showed that Popular Front has gained considerable expansion and growth, an improvement in the flow of member, associates and supporters during the past year in spite of the malicious propaganda carried out by communal fascist outfits and their agents in administration, police, intelligence and media. The report presentation was followed by in-depth discussions. The members of Central Secretariat and State Presidents Kaamran Ashraf Moulavi (Kerala), Elyas Muhammed Thumbe (Karnataka), A. S. Ismail (Tamil Nadu), Muhammad Arif Ahmed (Andhra Pradesh), Muhammad Kaleemullah Siddiqui (Delhi), Muhammad Shafi (Rajasthan), Muhammad Shahabuddin (West Bengal), Mufti Arshad Qasmi (Manipur) led the discussions.


On the second day of the NGA, there was an open forum on the contemporary political situation in India. The National Executive Council member Anis Ahmed delivered a power point presentation on Social Networking. A video Documentary of the Social Justice Conference in different languages was released on the occasion. Six resolutions were adopted after discussion. The two days programme concluded with the valedictory address by the Vice Chairman Muhammad Ali Jinnah.


[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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